Meet moringa oleifera. In its native India and Nepal, it's known as "drumstick tree," "miracle tree," and "tree of life"; today it's also grown in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and also goes by the "horseradish tree."
This superfood has been used as a traditional remedy in phytomedicine and ayurvedic healing for thousands of years.
Here are the 10 best health benefits of moringa oleifera, plus our favorite ways to add this super green to your diet:
Moringa is packed with vitamins and minerals
Many of the healthy foods you eat have a single standout nutrient. Think carrots and vitamin A, citrus and vitamin C, nuts and vitamin E. In fact, the leaves are more concentrated in vitamin C2 than oranges. That means moringa can contribute to everything from better vision and immunity to bone health and skin radiance.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
Moringa is a good source of plant-based protein
Moringa may help your sex life
Moringa may help balance hormones
Menopause can throw women's hormones out of whack—and make them feel off, but moringa may help.
A study published in the Journal of Food and Science Technology found that postmenopausal women who took a combination of moringa leaf powder and amaranth leaf powder7 for three months not only had decreased markers of oxidative stress, but they also had better fasting blood glucose and increased hemoglobin levels, which could mean more balanced hormones.
Moringa may help protect the liver
Think of your liver as the body's detoxifier. It filters the blood, detoxifies chemicals, and metabolizes fat—and moringa may help it work better.
Moringa may help fight free radicals
Moringa may reduce inflammation
Moringa may help balance blood sugar
Spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels can cause mood swings and sugar cravings and even lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Enter moringa.
Moringa may improve digestion
Moringa may support brain health
Side effects and risks
You'll also want to stay clear of moringa seeds and moringa seed extract consumption, as they have shown a level of toxicity in immune cells.
Moringa can also have a laxative side effect when consumed in large quantities or lead to stomach upset, so we suggest starting with a small dose—½ to 1 teaspoon per day.
How to use moringa powder
Made from dried and ground moringa leaves, the powder has a mild flavor with a slightly earthy taste, so it works well with many different recipes.
- Add it to your morning smoothie.
- For lunches or other meals, it can also be sprinkled into hummus, guacamole, soups, salads, or avocado toast.
- Try baking it into treats like bread, or mixed into your favorite energy balls.
- Finally, use the powder like matcha and whisk it into hot water for a caffeine-free coffee substitute.
- Moringa-infused teas are also common (try Traditional Medicinals Organic Moringa With Spearmint & Sage or Lipton Miracle Moringa with Green Tea and Pomegranate).
Moringa Oleifera has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years and has been associated with numerous benefits.
We always recommend considering a doctor's guidance before making any health-related decisions.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 7, 2015. A previous version of this article indicated that moringa leaf powder can reduce liver fibrosis. We have since clarified that statement to indicate that preliminary research in animal studies has shown that consuming moringa reduced symptoms of liver fibrosis. A previous version of this article indicated that moringa leaf powder can improve thyroid health. We have since clarified that statement to indicate that preliminary research on moringa for thyroid health is mixed.